- Porsche race and title victory at Portimao
- Fierce Ferrari v Porsche battle in all-Dunlop GTE category
- G-Drive in contention for overall victory in a race with 14 lead changes
Proton Competition claimed the 2018 LMGTE title in the European Le Mans Series (ELMS) today in Portugal. The 4 Hours of Portimāo saw a full four hours of battling in the all-Dunlop class, with the squad’s #77 Porsche 911 RSR emerging victorious. Five of the six entries led at times throughout the race, in which five cars were in title contention. It was the race winner’s sister #88 entry, which went into the race as standings leader, that ultimately is crowned champion after finishing the race in third place.
The all-Italian crew – Gianluca Roda, Giorgio Roda and Matteo Cairoli – was the only team in the class to lead laps in all six races of the season. The Portimāo win was the second victory after claiming the win at the Red Bull Ring and it was the team’s fifth appearance on the podium – the only non-podium race being the 4 Hours of Monza where the team had to settle for fifth place. Cairoli was also responsible for setting two of the six fastest laps of the season, at the Red Bull Ring and Silverstone.
In the headline LMP2 class, Dunlop-shod 2018 champions G-Drive Racing made a valiant recovery in a hard-fought race after being sent into a spin on lap three to lead the race with one hour remaining. The final pit-stops shuffled the order and ultimately the champions crossed the line in third, just five seconds after the leader, however missed out on a podium place due to a ten second time penalty for an infringement. The race pace was strong throughout, with the APR Rebellion Racing holding the fastest lap for much of the race. The final tally of 100.25 points gave G-Drive Racing a comfortable win-margin of 34.25 points on Racing Engineering, also on Dunlop tyres. The title is the eleventh LMP2 championship win on Dunlop tyres, seven of which are also overall championship titles.
LMP2: Dunlop’s 2018 ELMS in numbers
- 4 out of 6 wins
- 3 out of 6 fastest race laps
- 10 out of 15 podium finishes
- 433 of 721 laps led
LMP2: Dunlop’s ELMS - 2004 to date
- 46 race wins out of 76
- 11 LMP2 titles out of 15
Ben Crawley, Director, Dunlop Motorsport
"Firstly congratulations to our two worthy champions – G-Drive Racing and Proton Competition. Both classes have seen some amazing battles this year.
"We are already looking forward to the competition in the 2019 ELMS. After only conceding one podium position and two pole positions in the last three seasons, the excitement of the challenge seen this season is welcomed and underlines the value of open tyre competition. While we are sorry that our consecutive run of Dunlop ELMS wins came to an end at 21 it is great for the sport. As much as we love the taste of champagne it doesn’t taste as sweet when you’re not really challenged. Wins in a season with strong competition have true meaning.
"Dunlop will be pushing hard to get back on the top step at the next WEC round at Shanghai to take our 54th win and in the ELMS next season. We relish the challenge and we are inspired to go the extra mile to win. It is the true spirit of the Dunlop brand.
"We also commend the ACO for the level of the ELMS grid this year. In the second year of the new regulations in LMP2 we have had an amazing field who were all genuine contenders for being in the battle for wins and podiums.
"Finally a massive thank you to all our teams and partners. We value the strength of our relationships and continuing our work together to get stronger and bring more success. We can’t wait to start testing for next season, to building on those relationships and working together to get podiums and wins."